Colorado 500 dirt bike race raises more than just dust
This is one dirt bike race where the big winners are not on the trails. On Monday, more than 380 riders zoom off from the Dallenbach Ranch in Basalt for the 30th annual Colorado 500. The race, founded by former Indy car racer Wally Dallenbach Sr., has raised over $1 million dollars for charity since it was established in 1981. The event, which includes former Indy Car driver and rookie of the Year Dennis Firestone, current NASCAR driver Sumner McKnight and 2005 Pikes Peak Hill Climb winner David Donner, starts near the Frying Pan River, crosses Taylor Pass then winds its way through Crested Butte and Ouray, then finishes in Snowmass Village.Recognized worldwide, the Colorado 500 is considered one of the premier off-road events of its type. This year’s event shapes up as one of the largest ever with riders coming from throughout the United States, Canada and Australia.Riders in the Colorado 500 represent all walks of life. Lined up with the pros are bankers, lawyers, doctors and business executives.Interest in the 2005 race has forced Dallenbach to turn away a number of former riders.”We were sad to tell a few we were full this year,” Dallenbach said. Sports teams, medical clinics and rescue squads are a few of the beneficiaries of the Colorado 500. One highlight of the event’s charity fund is that since 1994, a $10,000 scholarship has been awarded to a member of Basalt High School’s senior class. Shawn Stevenson was the first scholarship recipient. Stevenson has gone on to earn a master’s degree and currently works in social services in the valley.Ana Garcia was awarded the 2005 scholarship.
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Former Rifle Bears standout turned starting running back for Western Colorado University Ty Leyba remembers it like it was yesterday.